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St. John Feet, Fins and Four Wheel Drive Paperback – July 1, 2001


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St. John  Feet, Fins and Four Wheel Drive + St. John Off The Beaten Track + Virgin Islands National Park (National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map)
Price for all three: $40.79

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 152 pages
  • Publisher: Amer Paradise Pub (July 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0963106090
  • ISBN-13: 978-0963106094
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,768 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Pam Gaffin has lived on St John since 1989. She is an avid hiker and snorkeler. Not content with hiking the marked trails and swimming in all the bays, Pam is one of the few (only?) people that has both snorkeled and hiked the island's perimeter, along with all the ghutts on the island.

As an avid world explorer, Pam has used many guidebooks - some great, some terrible. She used that knowledge to write a book that is fun to read as well as informative. Much to her surprise, St John Feet Fins and Four Wheel Drive has been a best seller since 1994!

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Welcome to St. John

You've made it to the island - your long awaited vacation in the American Paradise is about to begin. You're standing on the ferry dock or sitting on your balcony admiring the view. Now what?

St. John is not large, not very developed, not very populous, and not very sophisticated. If your idea of a dream vacation features glitzy nightlife, tons of shopping, noisy casinos and lots of people - you are on the wrong island.

However, if you have arrived on St. John in search of natural beauty, friendly people, a vibrant community, and a pristine environment - then you are in exactly the right place.

Why? Because St. John is unique. It has a distinctly different history than St. Thomas, St. Croix or Tortola. There are subtle reasons for this - cultural, tribal, geographic, and agricultural reasons. St. Johnians have always taken pride in their well-deserved reputation for being fiercely independent, self-sufficient, and community-minded. What other tiny tropic island would refer to its only town as 'Love City?'

Another reason St. John is so unique is because of the National Park. Over half the island falls within its protective boundaries. No other island in the Caribbean has expended so much money, time, talent, careful thought, and hard labor to ward off the corrosive influence of modern man.

You say you want beaches? There are 39 of them - big ones, little ones, crowded ones, and lonely ones. There are beaches for sunbathing, beaches for beachcombing, and beaches for snorkeling. We've got sandy bays, rocky bays, mangrove bays and even salt ponds. There are beaches which are only two steps from your car, and beaches that you can only get to by hiking a long way. A few of our beaches have shops, snack bars and facilities - but most are splendidly undeveloped and natural.

No matter how idealized your expectations of the 'perfect tropical beach' may be - we've got a beach which will meet or exceed them. Guaranteed.

Hiking? St. John has ten minute and all day trails, easy trails and rather hard trails - and trails to historic ruins, isolated beaches, and salt ponds teeming with birds. There are over 20 miles of trails just in the park alone.

As for historic sites, there are ruins of five windmills on the island, old sugar cane factories, plantation Great Houses, mysterious petroglyphs, and even the landmarks of one of the most important slave insurrections in the world.

St. John roads snake alongside some of the most spectacular beaches in the world, and regularly offer breathtaking views of both the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.

Taxis are available to take you to some of the more popular beaches, but the best way to fully explore St. John is by rental jeep.

There are many curve-by-curve 'jeep tours' within this book, and one of them is just right for you, whether you're able to spend an active day or a leisurely month exploring the island.

We do, of course, have night life and shopping - and we certainly know how to party. Cruz Bay has a wide variety of shops, restaurants and bars but you don't need a guide book for that - just wander around town and enjoy. Wednesdays and Fridays are the biggest nights for live bands, but there's usually music somewhere on other nights. Special events, like a fish fry or benefit dance or baseball game or kite flying contest or historical lecture are advertised by posters all over town.

OK, now where are the beaches, the ruins, the protected forests and the trails? What should you do if you've only got one day? How can you get around the island?

That's what this book is for - to tell you what's out there, how to get to it, how to find it and how to enjoy it.

Welcome to St. John. Have fun exploring. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Customer Reviews

A must-have for a trip to St. John.
ksrp
We used her helpful information for hiking the trails, using the maps she included.
Donna M. Ecker
The book was excellent and very accurate in detail of information.
Thomas Young

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 5, 1999
Format: Paperback
I used this book to help plan my week long stay on St. John a couple of years ago. What a week! It has some excellent driving tours of the island that will take you to out of the way bays for snorkeling where you may be the only people there! It leads you on hikes through the rain forest to places that few people venture with spectacular views and interesting historical sites. If you are planning a trip to St. John and want to see the real island, from the End of the Road Stand to the Salt Pond, this is definitely the book to take along.
Rob Sparks
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Young on December 14, 1999
Format: Paperback
My wife and I used this book a great deal on a recent one week vacation to St. John. The book was excellent and very accurate in detail of information. A very useful guide to hiking trails, back roads, with a very thorough and accurate review of beaches. If you know what you're looking for, this book provides an excellent reference. If you don't know, it provides an excellent resource for reading and planning. It helped make our trip more enjoyable. I highly recommend it.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By J. McEntyre on June 25, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book was part of the library in the villa my wife and I rented on St. John for our honeymoon. It was indispensable - It had descriptions for all the beaches, including the hard to get to but worth the hike Waterlemon Cay.
I'm going back to St. John this year, and I'll be taking this book with me.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By R. Richardson on January 6, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book is invaluable for visitors who appreciate thoughtful commentary on local history, customs, and gossip (ie: why the island's only stoplight hangs in the mayor's office). As others have noted, the author clearly describes how to reach beaches and hiking trails--and the relative merits of different sites. Without this book, I never would have found the beautiful unmarked trail that led to a completely deserted beach. If you go to St. John--and are not particularly interested in bumping into masses of tour groups--you will worship this book.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Patrick J. Mcdougall on November 28, 2007
Format: Paperback
Written by a "local," this book has a plethora of information pertaining to trails, beaches and snorkeling sites, and miscellaneous attractions on Saint John, US Virgin Islands. Each site of interest is thoroughly described, with humorous comments and local stories inserted where appropriate. If you want a lot of detail about a vast quantity of snorkel spots, hiking trails, and what to see, this book is for you. You simply won't find this level of detail in more generalized travel guides.

An excellent feature of this book are the "driving tours" presented in the back of the guide. These tours provide helpful mileage and locational information which makes it easy to find sites that may not be so apparent to a non-islander. We used this feature frequently, and were impressed with how it was organized and cross-referenced to the more detailed location descriptions presented earlier in the book.

What you won't find in the book is a wealth of information about restaurants, bars and shopping spots. While some such sites (primarily the old island favorites) are pointed out, it's just not the focus of the guide. Neither does it get into detailed information about available excursions and specialty vendors such as watersports outfits.

We highly recommend the book for folks planning to do lots of outdoor activities, be it snorkeling, swimming, hiking, or visiting historic and cultural sites.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By itchyfoot on August 12, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
We used this book everyday in St. John to locate beaches, hikes, and places to visit. It is a good comprehensive overview but also includes details about each area as well as information on driving (on the left) and snorkeling. Our host home included several travel books on St. John's that were very helfpul and included other perspectives. I also recommend "Off the Beaten Path-St. John." I hope you'll love St. John's as much as I did. I'm ready to return!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By L. M. Singleton on July 21, 2007
Format: Paperback
I returned from a July, 2007 trip to St. John thinking that this book - that I stumbled upon in our villa - was superior to the Fodors, Frommers, and Off the Beaten Track books I had hauled over to the island in my suitcase. I had seen it on Amazon but had been put off by its cover. Well, I was wrong. This updated, fun to read book was my main guide on the island and it proved very accurate and informative. Ms. Gaffin obviously knows her subject and happily shares her love of this beautiful island.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By a scholar of religion on September 12, 2005
Format: Paperback
i bought several guide books before spending a week in St. John, and found that this had all the information i needed, and just the right level of detail. It was accurate and enhanced our family's vacation.
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